Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

What a prickly character this plant is as it inhabits any spare ground it finds. One fine day on a walk along our local lanes, tucked tight against the stone wall, was one with seed heads bursting into the wind. Reaching home, gloves and secateurs were quickly gathered up and returning I gently placed a bag over the dispersing seeds and managed to get it home in time!

Original watercolour

Image size 40cm x 30cm

Oncidium orchid

Needing something interesting to paint we visited a Chelsea award winning specialist orchid nursery close to our home. I spent a long time looking round until I finally spied a tall stem with beautiful dancing flowers advancing up to the topmost bud. I did have doubts that I could do it justice but bought it regardless.

Installing it at home I studied it more closely, well let’s give it a go! There were actually fourteen flowers but I decided to paint just a few.The pseudo bulbs and leaves, I depicted in graphite, reduced to half life size.

Limited edition fine art Giclée prints available

Iris fetodisima seedheads

Original watercolour

Image size 32cm x 22cm

Magnolia x soulangeana seedhead

Magnolias are believed to be one of the oldest genera of flowering plants. Fossil remains were found in Idaho in 1971 that contained 2-3 species of magnolia thought to be 17-20 million years old.
Ref: Magnolias in Art and Cultivatin by Barabara Oozeerally, Jim Gardiner, Stephen A. Spongberg.

This seedpod was an interesting subject to paint, with the intense colour of the fruits, the detail of the pods and the subtle shades of the autumn leaves.

Image size 30cm x 40cm

Limited edition fine art Giclée prints available

Hellebore orientalis

Original watercolour

Image size 40cm x30cm

Iris fetodissima

Original watercolour

Image size 40cm x 30cm

Acanthus mollis

We have a ‘keep fit’ walk which runs parallel to the coast, with lots of upward steps, hence the fitness element. It forms part of the South West Coast Path. After the particualarly wet spring of 2021 large numbers of spectacular Acanthus mollis appeared clothing the downward slope to the sea.

I love architectural plants so could not resist cutting a carefully selected stem. The delicate colour combined with spiky sepals and the white folded petals was a joy to portray. A bud was added to comlete the painting in the spring of 2022.

Image size 40cm x 30cm

Limited edition fine art Giclée prints available

Alexanders – Smyrnium olusatrum

This umbellifer with its beautiful lime green flowers, leaves and tall stately stems graces the south Devon lanes where I live. Emerging in late winter/early spring it quickly grows to around 1.5 meters in height. Of Mediterranean origin, “the parsley of Alexandria” is thought to have been introduced to Britain by the Romans as an all purpose food source: all parts of the plant are edible, including the seeds.

Diligent searching finally rewarded me with a perfect specimen including beautiful translucent spathes where the stems branched. The monochrome nature of the plant also appealed to me.

Image size 30cm x 32cm

Limited edition fine art Giclée prints available

Sarracenia Procession

The inspiration for this painting came one morning whilst drinking my coffee and observing the collection of Sarracenias – Trumpet Pitcher Plants sitting on my south facing windowsill. I was in the early stages of painting a series of these intriguing, stately carnivorous plants for a future exhibition with the RHS.

One beautiful large pitcher on the plant named Sarracenia ‘Charmaine’ reminded me of a Tudor Queen with her elaborate headdress. The smaller plant to her right was Sarracenia ‘Ladies in waiting’. Need I say more! So the idea of the Sarracenia Procession, complete with flower ‘parasols’, as a painting was born.

Image size 50cm x 40cm

Limited edition Giclée fine art prints available

Slipper orchid Paphiopedilum Freckles

Slipper orchid Paphiopedilum ‘Freckles’

January 2022, once again needing a plant to paint we spent a happy hour at Burnham orchid nursery, otherwise known as Orchid Paradise – a name it lives up to! I came away with a slipper orchid in full flower. A second flower bud appeared which enabled me to record the bud as it gradually opened. Two years on it has produced two more beautiful flower stems.

Original watercolour with graphite

Image size 28cm x 23cm

Botanical Art

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Ann Saward Botanical Artist
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